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As we’ve seen in every other case, avoiding responsibility isn’t a necessary factor to impute income but it’s a very persuasive reason when it’s there. In Sinks, we find that bad faith is enough to impute income even in a case where the the ex-husband, who was ordered to pay spousal support, retired rather than quit his job. Here, George Sinks retired at age 62 with full retirement benefits from his company. The court found evidence that he had retired to get a reduction in spousal support and imputed income.
This case isn’t like Reynolds, where the court reduced support due to standard retirement, because the Sinks court found that “his voluntary retirement was an attempt to shirk his support obligation.” They followed the rest of the imputed income analysis, finding that he had the ability and opportunity to continue working if he chose to, but the fact that he voluntarily retired to avoid his support obligation meant that the court focused on that bad faith to impute income.
Note: It may seem like splitting hairs that retirement at 62 was improper here, but retirement at 67 in Reynolds was a true change in circumstances. The point is that the bad faith factor matters to the court in any circumstances. If you can show bad faith in any change in employment, the court is far more likely to impute income for support calculations.
In Re Marriage of Sinks, 204 Cal.App.3d 586 (1988).